Yes, I must have been a difficult student for teachers. Once, having come in last to a class in high school, I told the teach that there was a power failure at the mall and I was stuck on the escalator for an hour. This difficult streak inflicts me to this day. When asked to call out hymns at a hymn-sing, I’m likely to call out a number just beyond the actual number of hymns in the hymnal. And when a professor asked which Collect was our favorite, I quickly flipped through the prayer book and said, the Collect for the 25th Sunday after Trinity. Don’t bother looking it up, there are only 24 Sundays after Trinity Sunday. I must say that I enjoyed watching my classmates search in vain for the Collect. Then one by one the realization registered on their faces, Clarkey’s at it again.
What is odd, the very next Collect in the old prayer book is the one for the Sunday Next Before Advent, and that is my favorite Collect. It is my favorite, in part, because I associate it with Christmas puddings. I won’t go into that story here, most of you have heard it many times. The more significant reason I like the Collect is what it says:
STIR Up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Book of Alternative Services kept this Collect, but switched it to a time during the summer. Hardly a time to be thinking about Christmas puddings, but then, that’s another story. No matter the time of year, it is always a good thing to pray for our wills to be stirred-up. Stirred-up… Stirred to action, stirred to doing God’s will, stirred to love and justice, stirred to compassion.